By Bob Uphues
Brookfield police have cited two local teenagers they say were involved in a series of BB-gun shootings during the month of July. Police reported four such incidents in which five people were struck by BBs – one of them in the face -- between July 10 and July 27.
No one was seriously hurt, but the victims of the shootings were "understandably terrified" by the incidents, said Deputy Police Chief Edward Petrak, who announced the arrests on Aug. 18.
According to Petrak, both were given citations for violating local ordinances regarding disorderly conduct and assault. An 18-year-old Brookfield resident was given eight such tickets (two for each incident), because he reportedly was involved in all four incidents, three of them simply as the driver, police said.
Police also cited a 15-year-old boy for disorderly conduct and assault for his alleged involvement in one incident.
The two will appear before the local adjudicator on Sept. 14. Fines for the offenses range between $500 and $750 per offense, said Petrak. The village could also ask the adjudicator to order the teens to participate in community service.
The first incident was reported July 10 at 10:25 p.m., when an 18-year-old Brookfielder said he was walking in the 3500 block of Grand Boulevard when he was struck four times in the legs by pellets fired from a black vehicle.
On July 12 at 6 p.m., a 15-year-old boy told police he was sitting with friends on a bench in the 9100 block of Broadway Avenue when a clack vehicle drove by. Someone inside car fired a BB gun at him, hitting him in the right cheek.
A 14-year old boy riding bikes with three friends near Lincoln School at about 9 p.m. on July 17 said a dark-colored car stopped and someone inside fired a BB gun at the group. The 14 year old was hit twice in the legs by BBs, police said.
And on July 27 at about 9 p.m., two teenage boys reported that they were riding their bikes when both were hit multiple times in the arms and legs by BBs shot from a black sedan at the intersection of Garfield and Maple avenues.
While police could have charged the 18 year old with a criminal misdemeanor and could have petitioned the 15 year old to juvenile authorities, they decided to issue local ordinance violations, instead.
Petrak called this particular case a "gray area," because the evidence police had in hand was limited. None of the victims could positively ID the offenders, and all police had was grainy surveillance camera footage from outside Lincoln School, where the July 17 incident happened.
Brookfield police set up surveillance to try to catch the offenders in the act, but once they received the video evidence and got a tip on the name of someone possibly involved, they decided to act before someone was seriously hurt, Petrak said.
On Aug. 9, police visited the home of the 18 year old and talked to a parent, who confirmed the car in the video might belong to his family and that his son did own an Airsoft gun.
"The parents were extremely cooperative to help get this resolved," Petrak said.
Police visited the home again on Aug. 14 to interview the 18 year old, who reportedly confessed to being involved in the four incidents.
"It's a relief for us to have this resolved," Petrak said. "While these four incidents all involved an Airsoft rifle, out victims, many just young kids walking and riding bikes, were understandably terrified by the experience. They weren't sure what [the offenders] were shooting at the time, and the panic and reactions could have easily caused further injuries to our young victims.